Farming at sea

A Panorama investigation into the sustainability of Salmon Farming is available on the BBC iPlayer in the UK for the next 11 months at the date this is posted.

The iPlayer introduction asks:

What do you know about the salmon on your plate? Panorama explores the £1 billion industry producing one of the UK’s biggest food exports and one of the country’s favourite fish. Reporter Lucy Adams asks whether salmon farming really is sustainable, investigating the farming practices of some of those responsible for producing the fish Britain loves to eat.

The issues highlighted in the programme are not new. There was certainly a suggestion from its interviews in Norway that the Norwegian industry, heavy investors in Scottish Salmon Farming, would have to follow tougher environmental standards were it investing at home.

But as Dreamstore noted previously;

The issues are known, and have been for more than over a decade – and then open sea cage farming was at nothing like the scale it is today. It is well past the time to take some action on addressing those issues.

The environmental risks presented by the Salmon Farming are huge. With world demand for fish, and farming a viable and necessary alternative to over-fishing the open seas, it is clear there needs to be a regulatory environment that is both good for the industry and safe for the environment.

Also previously noted, this is just one area that needs addressed in respect to the challenges faced by the wild Atlantic Salmon; sea lice, disease and viral infections, genetic degradation, and displacement. The North Atlantic Salmon Fund, the Grassy Creek Foundation, Atlantic Salmon Foundation, the Atlantic Salmon Trust, among others, all do their bit in supporting efforts to reverse the trend in decline of wild salmon stock.

What seems to be lacking, and is obvious from the Panorama programme, is political will – or rather weight and urgency – to take serious action across a wide ranging agenda. It would be unfair to lay this at the door of the Scottish Government alone – though this is in its backyard. Action will take national and international determination with some considerable political heft. To date that remains elusive.

With plans to increase fish farming around our coasts, Panorama may well be returning to this topic sooner rather than later.